The Tudor Choir

 

2366 Eastlake Ave. E., Suite 335, Seattle, WA 98102

Tel  (206) 323-9415    Fax  (206) 860-9151

Email  info@tudorchoir.org    Website  www.tudorchoir.org

Doug Fullington, Artistic Director    Dawn Elwell, General Manager

 

 

February 9, 2006                                                               Contact: Dawn Elwell, General Manager

FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE                                                                       (206) 323-9415

 

The Tudor Choir performs “Simple Gifts” –

a new program of Anglo-Americana –

to be recorded for future CD release

 

Simple Gifts

 

WHAT:           The Tudor Choir presents

Simple Gifts, a concert featuring Shaker tunes and Anglo-Americana

new settings of Shaker tunes by Kevin Siegfried

 

WHEN &        Saturday, April 8, 2006 at 8:00 pm

WHERE:         Town Hall, 8th & Seneca, Seattle 98101

                       

TICKETS:      $25 general admission; $20 seniors; $15 students

ORDER ONLINE at www.tudorchoir.org or call the Tudor Choir at (206) 323-9415

 

 

The Tudor Choir presents SIMPLE GIFTS, a new program of Shaker songs, folk tunes, and settings of transcendentalist and devotional texts that embody the peaceful and meditative side of Anglo-American aesthetics – a love of nature, individuality, and community combined with a deep spirituality. SIMPLE GIFTS will subsequently be recorded for release as the Tudor Choir’s sixth compact disc.

 

SIMPLE GIFTS will be performed on Saturday, April 8, 2006, at 8:00 pm at Town Hall, 8th and Seneca in downtown Seattle. Tickets are $25 for regular admission, $20 for seniors, and $15 for students, and may be purchased online at www.tudorchoir.org or from the Tudor Choir office by calling (206) 323-9415. Group rates are available.

 

About SIMPLE GIFTS

 

A sequel to the Tudor Choir’s popular GENTLE WORDS album of Shaker tunes, the new SIMPLE GIFTS program of Shaker songs, folk tunes, and settings of serene transcendentalist and devotional texts offers more of the peaceful and meditative side of early American

aesthetics, including a love of nature, individuality and community combined with a deep spirituality.

 

 

The SIMPLE GIFTS program is underpinned by four settings of the popular Shaker tune “‘Tis the gift to be simple”: the first drawn from a Shaker manuscript; the second in an arrangement by American musical icon Aaron Copland (1900-1990), who made the tune famous by including it in his ballet score Appalachian Spring; the third in a vocal jazz-inspired setting by British composer Bob Chilcott (born 1955); and the fourth in a new arrangement for the Tudor Choir by American composer Kevin Siegfried (born 1969, please see bio below).

 

Musical settings by Kevin Siegfried make up a large part of the SIMPLE GIFTS program. In addition to several new settings of Shaker tunes, the Tudor Choir will premiere Siegfried’s choral suite, At the water’s edge, with texts by the 19th-century American poet Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909). The settings, mostly for unaccompanied voices, are titled “Top of the hill,” “Boat song” (for upper voices and harp), “In restless waves,” and “The eagle trees.”

 

Two additional American female poets are represented on the program: Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) and Jane Leeson (1807-1882). One thing have I desired, a setting of Carmichael’s poem for accompanied choir by Tudor Choir director Doug Fullington (born 1968), will receive its concert premiere alongside John Rutter’s setting of Leeson’s Loving shepherd of thy sheep for unaccompanied voices.

 

Early American texts and music are presented in works by New England’s William Billings (1746-1800) and Jeremiah Ingalls (1764-1828). Billings’s I am the rose of Sharon is a large-scale anthem in the composer’s most direct and infectious style, and Ingalls’s setting of Jesus Christ the apple tree – with a text drawn from a collection compiled by Joshua Smith and published in New Hampshire in 1784 – has a drinking song quality that cannot come as a surprise from a composer who opened a tavern in order to have a venue in which to host public singing school classes. A second setting of Jesus Christ the apple tree, by British composer and folksong historian Elizabeth Poston (1905-1987), offer a fresh interpretation of the classic text.

 

Other British contributions come from Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), with his settings of George Herbert’s (1593-1633) The call and John Bunyan’s (1628-1688) He that is down need fear no fall; and Michael Neaum, with a setting of the American folksong I wish I were a child again, for upper voices and harp.

 

Following the April 8 performance of SIMPLE GIFTS, the program will be recorded for CD release. SIMPLE GIFTS will become the Tudor Choir sixth CD and will serve as a sequel to the choir’s popular GENTLE WORDS CD of Shaker tunes, mostly arranged by Kevin Siegfried. Fanfare magazine critic Craig Zeichner wrote about GENTLE WORDS and the Tudor Choir: “This recording triumphs on every level. If you care about American music or the art of sublime choral singing, I implore you to buy this recording. …The choir impresses with its ability to get to the very essence of each song, whether the mood is ecstatic or contemplative. This is a choir that is thinking about the words being sung, and their performances are wonderfully honest and

unaffected. I want to hear much more from them in the future. Shapenote music, Shaker songs, Sheppard, Tallis, and Victoria. This is a choir to watch.”

 

The Tudor Choir’s 2005-2006 is sponsored in part by KING-FM. Additional seasonal support provided by ArtsFund.

 

 

 

SIMPLE GIFTS program to include:

 

BILLINGS, William: I am the Rose of Sharon              

CHILCOTT, Bob: The gift to be simple

COPLAND, Aaron: Simple gifts

COPLAND: Zion’s walls

FULLINGTON, Doug: One thing have I desired

INGALLS, Jeremiah: The apple tree

NEAUM, Michael: I was I was a child again

POSTON, Elizabeth: Jesus Christ the apple tree

RUTTER, John: Loving shepherd of thy sheep

SHAKER TRADITIONAL: ‘Tis the gift to be simple

SIEGFRIED, Kevin: All at home

SIEGFRIED: At the water’s edge - 1. Top of the hill - 2. Boat song - 3. In restless waves

- 4. The eagle trees

SIEGFRIED: The Humble Heart

SIEGFRIED: Simple Gifts

SIEGFRIED: Star of Purity

THOMSON, Virgil: My shepherd will supply my need

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, R.: The call

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: He that is down need fear no fall

 

About the Artists

 

The Tudor Choir

Hailed as “a superb choir” (Gramophone, Nov, 2005), as well as “a choir to watch” (Fanfare, Sept/Oct. 2001), the Tudor Choir and its director Doug Fullington are receiving increasing national and international attention as interpreters of both Renaissance polyphony and early American music. Founded in 1993, the Seattle-based professional vocal chamber ensemble comprises 12 core singers, but can expand to up to 40 members for works such as Thomas Tallis’s monumental Spem in alium.

 

Doug Fullington and the Tudor Choir have established themselves as leading interpreters of early American music. Their Shapenote Album (Loft) is widely regarded as the definitive professional recording of the shapenote genre and has been regularly broadcast on National Public Radio. Other recordings – Gentle Words: Shaker Songs arranged by Kevin Siegfried and An American Christmas, shapenote carols from New England and Appalachia (both Loft), have reinforced this reputation. The choir will record another album of Americana in April 2006.

 

The Tudor Choir is also receiving international recognition for its performances of Renaissance polyphony. Reviewing the choir's recent CD, Jacob Clemens non Papa: Requiem and Motets

(Loft), a disc of Flemish polyphony, Gramophone magazine stated, “Let us hope this is the first of many recordings of this repertoire by this superb group” (Nov. 2005).

 

The Tudor Choir has performed extensively throughout the Pacific Northwest, including concert appearances in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Portland, Oregon. The choir presents an annual subscription series in the Seattle area, where it is both an Artist-in-Residence at St. Mark's Cathedral and a Resident Ensemble at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Medina. The Tudor Choir has collaborated numerous times with Seattle Baroque Orchestra and appeared on the Early

 

 

Music Guild's International Series. The choir has also performed with Pacific Northwest Ballet and Mark Morris Dance Group and in conjunction with Seattle Opera. The choir has recorded for Seattle Symphony Orchestra's Musically Speaking series and performed live on National Public Radio’s A Prairie Home Companion broadcast.

 

Kevin Siegfried, composer

Hailed by the British journal Choir and Organ as writing music with “the pressure and presence of personal conviction,” Kevin Siegfried is a composer of diverse talents and interests. He remains active and committed to teaching, vocal performance, and directing. Recent performances of his compositions include the American Choral Directors Association National Conference in New York City; the European-American Musical Alliance in Paris, France; the June in Buffalo Festival; Seattle Art Museum; National Public Radio; and the Investiture of Bishop V. Gene Robinson.

 

Siegfried’s music is published by E.C. Schirmer, Earthsongs, and Trinitas and has been performed by such leading ensembles as Emmanuel Music (Boston), the Dale Warland Singers (Minneapolis), Bella Voce (Chicago), and the Tudor Choir (Seattle). The Tudor Choir’s 2001 Gentle Words CD, the premiere recording of Siegfried's Shaker song arrangements, received wide acclaim and was praised as “a stunning addition to the repertoire” by Fanfare magazine. Since that initial recording, Siegfried’s Shaker arrangements have been featured on many other recordings including the Dale Warland Singers’ Harvest Home, Brigham Young University Concert Choir’s Beautiful River, and Choral Arts Ensemble’s Never Be We Mute. Music featured on the recording also received Top Honors in the Carlton Savage Endowment’s “Waging Peace through Singing” competition.

 

Siegfried’s emerging international voice as a composer of choral music stems from his lifelong performing experience as a singer, countertenor and early music performer. With an active interest in the classical music systems of Asia, Siegfried received a Stanley Fellowship in 1995 to study South Indian vocal music with Sriram Parasuram in Chennai, India. Counting this experience as one his most formative and influential, his study of South Indian music continues and has branched out to include other music systems, particularly in the region of Southeast Asia.

 

In 2005, Siegfried graduated from the New England Conservatory with a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition. While at NEC, Siegfried studied with Lee Hyla, Michael Gandolfi, and Daniel Pinkham. He also holds a Master of Arts in Theory and Composition from the University of Iowa. Siegfried has been on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory since 2004, where he has taught and served as a vocal coach and musical director. His previous teaching engagements

include Harvard University, the New England Conservatory, and the Northwest School in Seattle.